Steamboat Springs For the past two winters, Moffat County High School diver Genna Bradley has started every practice the same way - by jumping in her car and making the 42-mile drive from her home in Steamboat Springs to Craig's indoor swimming pool.
It's a sacrifice the Steamboat Springs High School sophomore has been willing to make, two or three times a week, to pursue the sport she loves.
"It's just a lot of fun," Bradley said about diving.
She said her background in gymnastics - and the feeling she gets when she hits a jump just right - have hooked her on the sport despite the lack of facilities in her hometown.
"It's always a good feeling when you get the water rip," Bradley said. "If you hit the water perfectly, it rips open and you will only make a small splash going in."
That's the feeling Bradley strives for every time she steps on the board, and it's one of the reasons she approached diving coach David Fix a couple of years ago. She was encouraged after one of Fix's former divers, who happened to be working as a lifeguard at Old Town Hot Springs, saw Bradley diving at the pool and encouraged her to take her talent to the next level.
After Bradley won her second Western Regional Championship last weekend in Montrose, Fix said Bradley's choice to pursue diving was a good one. Fix said Bradley turned in one of her best performances en route to winning the event by more than 50 points.
"I'm so proud of her," Fix said. "She worked really hard this summer, and she's really come a long way in a short time."
Bradley went up against 16 of the region's best divers at last weekend's championships and dominated the competition on the 1-meter springboard. Bradley is one of four divers from the region, which includes Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose, Aspen, Glenwood, Gunnison and Moffat Country, who qualified for state this season. It is one of the strongest regional fields Fix can remember in five years as a coach. The 4A state diving championships are Saturday at Epic aquatics center in Fort Collins. Bradley qualified in December with a strong showing in Montrose.
"Earlier in the season, I was really nervous at some of the bigger meets," Bradley said. "But I wasn't nervous last weekend, and I'm hoping that I can do the same thing this weekend."
Bradley netted 393.85 points on 11 dives at the Western Regional Championships. Fix said the result is a new school record - eclipsing her previous mark of 373.85 points.
"The competition was much stiffer this year," Fix said. "But Genna has really improved."
Bradley said the sport is still very new to her, and she can't really compare her performance last year to the one last weekend.
Her goal is simply to keep improving while enjoying a sport that has offered her so much the past two years.
- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org